Saturday, February 28, 2009

Trade # 2: Vancouver and Florida

Vancouver trades Alex Edler, Alex Burrows, & 1st round pick in 2009 to Florida for J. Bouwmeester.

Florida cannot afford to keep Bouwmeester and watch him walk away, for nothing, in the off-season (remember Chris Drury and Daniel Briere?). The Panthers get a very good young Dman in Edler who is signed long-term. Burrows is a potential UFA but Florida trys to resign him right away. The 1st rounder should be in the early 20's which helps Florida get another valuable asset as this is a deep draft.

Vancouver gets a minute-munching stud in J-Bo and look to sign him long-term. Their D is set for the next few years with the puck-mover in J-Bo, all-around Kevin Bieksa and stay at home Willie Mitchell . Add Loungo between the pipes and losing the Sedin twins up-front won't hurt near as much.

This deal helps both teams this year which is the key.

Cap Implications: Both teams can make this deal as they have some room under the cap. J-Bo's cap hit of $4.875 Million all but puts Vancouver at the max as both Edler and Burrows are on their last year of their rookie contracts (Edler's 4 year extension at $3.25 Million starts next year).

Fantasy Spin:
J-Bo should cement himself as a fantasy stud Dman quarterbacking Vancouver's powerplay for the next few years. Look for similar numbers to his career year in Florida (46 points in 05-06) with potential to get to 50-55 over the next few years.
Edler will become the #1 Dman in Florida within the year and should continue to see a moderate rise in points and ice-time. Burrows is a Darcy Tucker-esque grinder who should re-sign and have some productive and pesky years in FLA.

5 Trade Predictons for the Deadline

There's a lot of excitement leading up to Wednesday's NHL trade deadline, most of it ignited by the endless, daily rumours reported by our favourite Insiders; Dreger, McKenzie, Kypreos, LeBrun, Morrison and....Eklund, to name a few.

I, like many this time of year, have been completely consumed with trying to get the latest scuttlebutt from prominent (or questionable depending on your point of view) hockey sources.

After listening/reading all of their "breaking news" and "sources tell me" I think I have some indication of what may happen on Wednesday's NHL Trade Deadline - or what I like to call it "Christmas 2."

Over the next few days, I will suggest (and just suggest, no sources, no rumors) 5 deals I could see happening by Wednesday, March 4th with a quick fantasy spin for each...afterall, this is JustFantasyHockey.

Trade #1:

Phoenix and Montreal

Montreal trades C. Higgins, PK. Subban and a 2009 1st Round Pick to Phoenix for O. Jokinen

Reason: Bob Gainey has been trying to obtain a big centre for well over 2 years now and he finally gets his man. Jokinen has struggled to find his game in Phoenix and will get a fresh start wearing the pressure-packed Le Habitant jersey. I have always seen him as a Mats Sundin-lite giving Montreal the kind of big, tough centre they are looking for. Higgins has been shopped around in every potential MTL deal and his speed will be a nice compliment to their young arsenal of speedsters (Mueller, Boedker, Turris and Lisin).

The key player in this deal though for Phoenix is PK Subban. With Jovanovski and Morris both on the back 9 of their career, PHX needs a young, mobile, puck-possession Dman. Keith Yandle is developing at a good rate this year, and with Nick Ross on the way, Phoenix is finally understanding that you build from the net out. Having mobile Dmen that can get the puck to their talented forwards will make Phoenix one of the best teams to watch in a few years...when they're in Winnipeg.

Cap Implications: Montreal can afford this deal with the Cap room they saved from the Lang and Tanguay injuries.

Fantasy Spin: Jokinen is rejuvenated in Montreal and finishes nearly a PPG down the stretch. He becomes their #1 centre heading into next season and with that a legit keeper or 2nd round pick in your fantasy draft. Higgins gets a slight spike as he should fit in nicely on one of the Coyotes top two lines. Subban remains a great long-term keeper option.

The remaining four trades will be posted over the next two days...

Kunitz Starts Strong

Chris Kunitz's debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins couldn't have gone any better. Kunitz scored a goal, added an assist and led the Pens with four hits in Friday's 5-4 overtime win in Chicago.

He played on a line with Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy for much of the night.

Fantasy Outlook: If you are looking for a winger for the stretch run or you are in a keeper pool, I would suggest trying to add this talented young player. However, I would not give the farm up to add him, as it is still unclear what kind of point ceiling he has, and whether or not he'll flank Sid the Kid. That being said, he will still get plenty opportunities and ice time.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Rumor Has It

Well all know there are some huge names being floated around the league right now and I am going to go on record as to my thoughts on who is in play and where they might end up.

Chris Pronger - Won't be moved until the draft. Teams won't pay the huge ransom and alter the chemistry of their teams. A deal of this magnitude needs more than 5 days to happen.

Jay Bouwmeester - He will be a Flyer. From all reports I have read the Flyers need this guy the most and have a top 6 player to move (Lupul)

Tomas Kaberle - This one will come down to the wire. I know Burke has set the limit high but all those teams that lost out on Jay Bo will turn to Toronto in a desperation move. There are a number of teams in play here but I see Pittsburgh moving Jordan Stahl to get this done.

Olli Jokinen - His time is done in Phoenix. The experiment didn’t work and both sides have agreed to part ways. This guy is a perfect fit for teams like Calgary, Buffalo and Montreal. I see Montreal winning out here. Gainey is not a stupid man and to get this done will be a lot cheaper than getting Vinny. Olli is signed for next season, making it a great fit for both parties.

Vincent Lecavalier – 2 major tire kickers here. Montreal and NY Rangers. As noted above, Gainey is not dumb and will not make a move out of pure emotion. Sather on the other hand has sat by and watched is club self-destruct, clinging to the edge of a playoff spot. He will deal out of emotion. With Tortorella now at the helm in NY, Vinny may very well feel some level of comfort going to Broadway. My prediction is that he stays put but something may happen before his no trade clause kicks in.

Ilya Kovalchuk – Not going anywhere. The newly appointed captain will stay put as Atlanta knows if they move him they may as well just pack up shop as a franchise as they will have nothing left.

Martin St. Louis – Very skilled and compliments his centers well. If Tampa is looking to go in another direction, they should start at by moving Martin. Pittsburgh would be the perfect fit here. Having just added Kunitz to the top 6, adding St. Louis would complete the squad. My prediction is Pittsburgh or bust.

Pavel Kubina – Having already stated he is not going to waive his no trade clause, he has been playing like a stud as of late. I am sure a lot of teams are looking Toronto’s way to get a chance at this rear guard. His fate will be in his own hands. Boston would be a perfect fit for this hard edged blueliner. Like the Kaberle deal it will come down to the wire. He will be moved for a first rounder and a prospect.

Keith Tkachuk – He has been rumored to be going to half the league already. He will be moved, but to where? He is still a top 6 guy who wants to win. Wanting to stay in St. Louis I see Keith going to Chicago. I think it would be a great fit. He brings heart, grit and leadership to a young squad. Oh and he is still within driving distance to the golden arches. (Insert joke here)

Nik Antropov – Bye Bye Toronto. Burke already said he days in Toronto are numbered. Playing better as of late I see Antropov packing his bags for beautiful Vancouver. I can’t believe that the Canucks are dragging their feet on this one. Antropov played extremely well with Sundin last year and would slide right in there and would not displace anyone in the top 6. Now with Demitra having a broken finger, it just makes the most sense.

Bill Guerin – Has just agreed to waive his no trade clause if the ‘right deal’ comes along. Which in my mind means any contender. Veteran experience and a knack of scoring goals he would be a great rental, possibly. That year in San Jose went terribly bad. I don’t see him going to the top 6 contenders as he is a top 6 guy and would change the chemistry of the club traded to. Look for Guerin to go to a smaller market team that he can make an impact on. My guess on that would be Dallas. He has a history there and they need top 6 scoring.

Ryan Smyth – Not going anywhere. Has a no trade clause and they cannot afford to let this veteran go. There will be offers from other teams but in the end he is just too valuable to the Avalanche organization.

Jason Spezza – Not going anywhere, yet. Again, this is one of those deals that takes time to construct. He has a huge contract which limits the number of teams that he can go to. Edmonton, Columbus and LA are the leading candidates here but there is no rush for any of those teams to make a move of this magnitude in 5 days time.

Milan Hejduk – Having one year left on his contract, Hejduk still figures in on the top 6 in Colorado. I do believe that Colorado will be sellers, but they will be unloading the bottom tier players and going forward with a mix of vets and youth. I don’t believe he gets moved, this year.

Scott Gomez – Rumors are swirling that he is on his way out. People are talking Jay Bo, Vinny or basically anything. The trade winds are swirling on Broadway but this is a huge contract to take on. Look for the same teams that want Spezza on this one. I see Columbus pushing hard for a centre for Nash. They are also trying to get themselves into the playoffs for the first time ever. If this happens it will be a domino effect in which Sather makes another huge deal.

Jordan Staal – This one baffles me on a lot of levels. Why would Pittsburgh need all this talent down the middle. Staal is not a point producer, at least not buried on the third line in Pittsburgh. He is a tremendous 2 way forward that may do great things on another team. Freshly signed to a new, reasonable contract, Pittsburgh should take this opportunity to move this guy for a stud winger or D man. As I mentioned previously, Staal for Kaberle folks. Similar contracts and both great players.

Filip Kuba – With the acquisition of Campoli to the Senators line-up, it made Kuba expendable. I believe he will be moved, but to where? A poor-mans Tomas Kaberle, teams such as Dallas and the Rangers would look at this guy as a cheap option. Look for him to go to Dallas as a rental. Great fit as they are missing that puck moving PP QB.

Nikolai Khabibulin – He has been rock solid this year. He has had a great tandem with Huet and they have pushed each other all season. Khabby has a winning history and would look be amazing on certain teams. I am sure Chicago will get offers but I don’t think they will make the deal. If Huet fails in just one game they have a guy that can be rock solid in there for them.